By Ann Miller Baker
Some 54 million Americans will be traveling this Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. More than 4 million of them will be flying to their destination. If you are one of them – and you’re also being treated for cancer – you should have already cleared your plans with your care team and discussed your needs with family or friends hosting you at your destination. Krissy Frantz, RN, BSN, manager of Moffitt’s Infusion Clinic offers these tips to make your flight memorable for all the right reasons.
- Pack the essentials close at hand. When flying, your carry-on should include:
- Sufficient supplies and prescriptions (in their original containers) for the duration of your trip and then some – just in case your return is delayed for any reason
- A list of all current medications and dosages, dates of last treatments and contact information for your health care providers, which will all be invaluable should you need help at a cancer hospital or emergency center at your destination
- Cards or medical alert bracelets related to any implanted devices or lines, to alert security scanners
- Hand sanitizer and wipes to clean surfaces, as well as masks for your nose and mouth if your physician has advised you to use them in crowds
- Snacks that you can tolerate if nauseated
- Save your strength. Make arrangements with your airline for assistance getting to your gate. Ask to pre-board and sit on the aisle if frequent restroom trips are anticipated.
- While in-flight, stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol. Bottled water is your best bet. If you’re on a long flight, be sure to get up and walk around the cabin periodically to minimize any risk of blood clots. Use sanitizing wipes on common areas like your tray table or in the airplane’s restroom to minimize your exposure to germs. And don’t forget to wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
For any traveler, getting there is only part of the adventure. In the second part of this blog, we’ll share helpful tips for holiday gatherings with your health in mind. You can also read more about traveling with cancer in this article from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of leading cancer centers including Moffitt.